A truly thrilling and unpredictable 2021 season so far has seen the championship lead contested throughout, with Rea fighting each weekend to try and make it seven championships in succession come the end of the year.
The Barcelona - Catalunya race weekend is an almost literal home event for KRT, with their workshops and offices located just a few hundred metres from the circuit itself, meaning this event has some extra significance for many of the team’s personnel.
As an opportunity to go for race wins and podium finishes the rewards are just as high as any other round in 2021 and Rea arrives at the circuit - also known as Montmelo - looking to overturn a seven point championship disadvantage to Toprak Razgatlioglu at the top of the table.
Rea has scored nine race wins already in 2021. He was also the first ever WorldSBK Race winner at Montmelo last year when the long-term MotoGP circuit was used by WorldSBK as a competitive venue for the very first time.
A recent mid-season test session at Catalunya, in generally hot conditions, was of great benefit to both KRT riders, although Lowes put in a limited number of laps as he recovered from some niggling injuries. The test also gave Jonathan and Alex the chance to ride on the slightly revised Catalunya track layout, which features modifications at Turn 10 compared to the 2020 version.
Despite two falls in the full-distance races at the most recent round in Magny Cours Alex took his first podium since Donington Park in the French Superpole race, boosting his confidence ahead of his team’s home fixture.
The weekend race schedule has been revised for the Barcelona - Catalunya round. WorldSBK Race One takes place in its regular 14.00 time-slot, as does Sunday’s 11.00 ten-lap Superpole race, but Sunday’s full-distance Race Two now starts at later-than-usual 15.15.
In the championship points table, after eight rounds of a scheduled 13, Rea is second and Alex fifth.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It’s exciting to go back to Barcelona, for many reasons. I had a win in the first ever WorldSBK race there last season and Montmelo is the team’s home round. I spend a lot of time there and even during these covid times we will have a lot of guests and sponsors there, so it will be even more important to be at 100% to do the best job we can. The circuit’s really nice, I really enjoy it, especially the new Turn 10, which is much more open than the past and the track has more flow now. We have tested there in the summer and we were able to make a good step with our Ninja ZX-10RR. It is a circuit that is very critical for tyre wear, so we need to focus on that to be strong at the end of the race. I feel good with our bike and I was able to fight in Magny Cours for the podium and in Barcelona the target will be the same. The championship is very close and now we have three rounds in a row, so it is so important to be strong - but also to be consistent and make no mistakes. What happens in these next three weeks will have a big impact on the championship, so I am super-excited to get going.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “Obviously the Catalunya race is a special one because it is a home race for a lot of the members of the team and the headquarters are just a stone’s throw from the start-finish straight. It is a really special event for all the guys. It is a great track and a great addition to the WorldSBK calendar last year. I really enjoy the layout. Unfortunately at the test we had earlier this year I only did a few laps because my shoulder was restricting me at that time. But the laps I did do were good. The new shape Turn 10 is quite a difficult one to get right, from a riding point of view, because it opens up on the exit. You have to really control the bike from spinning too much, which if we have hot conditions is going to be really important. It is a passing opportunity but it also allows the last sector of the lap to flow a lot better. I am looking forward to this weekend and the goal is to get back on the podium. We had good speed in Magny Cours so we want to keep that going.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will be back in action to continue his progress in his rookie WorldSBK season, while Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will take part in another home race, as he searches for more championship points.
Belgium’s Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) will be joined at the Barcelona - Catalunya round by his new team-mate, Lachlan Epis (TPR Outdo Kawasaki), from Australia.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 24, Wins 9, Podiums 22, Superpoles 8
Career Race Wins: 108 (93 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 207 (165 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 22, Wins 0, Podiums 5, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 29 (9 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)
8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 167 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 481 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall